Her hit drama, This Is Us, ended its six-season run in 2022, but Chrissy Metz still carries her popular character, Kate, with her. “Any character you play, you get so close,” Chrissy, 42, tells Closer. “You become them, they are you. You don’t know where you stop and they start.”

The Emmy and two-time Golden Globe nominee has been keeping busy. In February, she saw the publication of her children’s book and album, When I Talk to God, I Talk About You. She also garnered rave reviews for her recent dramatic turn as a prescription drug–addicted mother in the independent feature film Stay Awake. “It’s really important to talk about this stuff,” Chrissy says of the film, which is based on a true story. “Once the fear of addressing it goes away, there can be some healing and empathy.”

What are some of your favorite memories from ‘This Is Us’?

“I think any of the weddings, whether it was Kate’s wedding, or any of the flashbacks. I’m always a sucker for wedding montages or episodes. There were also so many great scenes! Seeing Jack (Blake Stadnik) grow up to become this very successful artist after Rebecca (Mandy Moore) tried to chase her dreams as a singer. It was really nice to see Jack do that. It felt very special to me.”

You also got a chance to sing on the show.

“Yes, music has always been my first love.”

Did you always want to be a singer?

“When I was 6 or 7 years old, I thought I would be a marine biologist. Then I realized you had to really study a lot and be into science. I thought a marine biologist just swam with dolphins! Then I wanted to be a therapist. Finally, when I got to middle school, I was like, ‘Oh, I really want to sing.'”

Were your parents supportive?

“As much as they could be. Financially, I came from humble beginnings. After my parents divorced, my mom was really a single mom and doing the best she could. But she was always emotionally supportive of whatever I wanted to pursue.”

You became a star and a role model on ‘This Is Us’. Were you surprised?

“It’s interesting because I always say that I’m just a work in progress. I’m just sort of figuring it out as I go. I think that’s what we’re all doing. But if people think that I’m a role model because they can relate and they know I’m just like them, then that’s great.”

In ‘Stay Awake’, you play a drug-addicted mom. What drew you to the role?

“When I first met the director, I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I just love him.’ He felt like a brother. The film is loosely based on the story of him and his brother. It was really important not to vilify Michelle, the mom I play. I know what addiction looks like. I have friends who have experienced it. I have a food issue — I know how it plagues our minds and infiltrates our lives. I want people to know that they’re not alone.”

That’s lovely. You also started your own wine label, Joyful Heart.

“Yes! For me, wine always felt very pretentious and I didn’t understand it. People were smelling and tasting, and I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ And then I started to learn about it. It’s just been a really cool experience.”

Does the name have special meaning?

“I like to go through life with a joyful heart. You know, you bring a bottle of wine with a joyful heart to a Sunday dinner or a friend’s house. It’s communal, you’re breaking bread with people. Also it’s really cool that $1 of the proceeds from each bottle goes to World Central Kitchen. It’s very important to me to be able to give back.”

You recently put out a children’s book and music with your boyfriend, Bradley Collins, called ‘When I Talk to God, I Talk About You’. How did that happen?

“I taught preschool. The kids always used to love to sing, and they loved us reading stories to them. The book’s foundation is a gentle introduction to prayer, so a children’s album just felt like a natural extension. The songs are all about bolstering young minds and hearts with encouragement, self-esteem and unconditional love. Like my grandmother always said, ‘Singing is like praying twice.’ I love that.”

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Do you have a favorite song on the album?

“I love them all, but one of the songs is called ‘Learning to Be Brave.’ I know from experience in life that it doesn’t matter how old you are, we’re all still learning to be brave. It’s not easy. You’re not born with courage or bravery. It’s really cultivated.”

Does spirituality play a big part in your life?

“Oh, it’s everything. I mean, it keeps me grounded and helps to guide my decisions, my thoughts, my actions. It’s something I need. It’s also just a great foundation for everything.”

You live in LA now. What do you love most about your home?

“I’ll have to say my dog, because she lives here with us. Also, that I even own a home is a miracle. It is something that every day I’m like, ‘Oh, my goodness. Wow, this isn’t rented, I earned this.’ Coming from humble beginnings — it wasn’t like I was from some Ivy League school or anything like that. It boggles my mind. So, I think that the fact that I even own a home is miraculous.”

What do you do to stay healthy?

“I love to swim. I like lifting weights, too. It makes me feel strong. I take my vitamins and my herbal supplements. I also have a gratitude list. I put at least 10 things down that I’m grateful for before I reach for my phone. Typically, that’s how I start my days.”

What’s on your bucket list?

“I would love to do a Broadway show. I would love to write and direct a film. At some point, I would love to have my own production company. I’d love to travel more.”